A legislative wish list for Democrats – hiking taxes on the rich, spending $3 billion more on schools and creating a single payer health care program – may be in doubt as Governor Andrew Cuomo raises concerns with a $2.3 billion revenue shortfall he’s blaming on the federal government.
“You have politics and you have government,” said Cuomo. “You have legislative proposals and you have budget realities. Welcome to government.”
Cuomo is pointing to the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, a provision of a 2017 tax law passed by Congress. The cap has forced some wealthier people to shift their tax liabilities either out of state or to delay payments.
Cuomo said this makes priorities for some Democrats difficult to accomplish.
“The Legislature through the budget process has to reconcile what we would like to do with what we can do,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo has in the past expressed skepticism about the proposals like increasing school aid by more than $3 billion. And he doesn’t want to increase taxes on the very wealthy to pay for it as current tax rates expire at the end of the year.
“Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich and now what do you?” Cuomo asked. “The rich leave."
Democrats in the Legislature like Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie say they are taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I think it’s a little early to determine what we can and can’t do,” said Heasite. “Like I said, I still want to see if this is a blip; it’s this just a delay?"
The same goes for Senator Gustavo Rivera, the Bronx Democrat who is a top supporter of the single-payer health care measure.
“Our finance team is still to be briefed of the details on the shortfall,” said Rivera. “And as we meet inside the conference, we’re being careful with how we’re putting together this budget."
Rivera’s revised bill for single payer health care is expected to be released in the next seven days.